Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction: What the Experts are Saying (The Porn Effect)

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sad guyI've put this article together for two reasons: First, if you're a male trying to break free from porn, one really potent, self-interested argument for why you should stop is that you may develop porn induced erectile dysfunction.

Not the most noble reason to quit, but hey, it's a start. The second reason is for those of you who are wanting to convince others about the negative effects of porn from a non-religious perspective. Each of the ten quotes and findings I present here are footnoted at the bottom for your convenience. I'd like to thank my good friend, Clay Olson from Fight The New Drug for pointing me to some of these findings.

10 Findings by Experts

1. “It’s hard to know exactly how many young men are suffering from porn-induced ED. But it’s clear that this is a new phenomenon, and it’s not rare.” [1] - Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, Clinical Professor of Urology at the Harvard Medical School  

2. I can tell how much porn a man watches as soon as he starts talking candidly about any sexual dysfunction he has. . . . A man who masturbates frequently can soon develop erection problems when he’s with his partner. Add porn to the mix, and he can become unable to have sex. . . . A penis that has grown accustomed to a particular kind of sensation leading to rapid ejaculation will not work the same way when it’s aroused differently. Orgasm is delayed or doesn’t happen at all.” [2] - Dr. Harry Fisch, Clinical Professor of Urology at Weill Cornell Medical College

3. “It starts with lower reactions to porn sites. Then there is a general drop in libido, and in the end it becomes impossible to get an erection.” [3] - Carlo Foresta, former president of the Italian Society of Andrology and Sexual Medicine.

4. In Italy, research looking at porn specifically and its impact on sexual problems in men ages 19 to 25 found that on a scale ranking sexual desire from 1 to 10 (10 being the highest), porn users averaged a score of 4.21, while non- porn users came in at 8.02. Erectile function was also 30 percent lower among porn users compared to non-users, and those on porn also earned lower scores on overall sexual satisfaction and orgasm function. [4]

5. A study done at Cambridge University looking at men with porn addiction found that more than half of the subjects reported “that as a result of excessive use of sexually explicit materials, they had . . .  experienced diminished libido or erectile function specifically in physical relationships with women (although not in relationship to the sexually explicit material). [5]

6. “Pills [such as viagra] will do something physiologic. They can provide blood flow to the genitalia. But what they can’t do is stimulate the most sexual organ, which is the brain. So when the brain is desensitized, you create a mismatch. And some men will even say, ‘Well I do get an erection’ even in these men who are able to be treated. Even with that erection, they do feel desensitized. They don’t get pleasure. So it doesn’t treat the pleasure component, and they feel that maybe I’m watching someone else having sex or it’s not even my penis; I feel dissociated from the experience. And when they have that they have this brain-penis mismatch created where the brain is simply not feeling pleasure even if they may or may not achieve an erection.” [6] - Dr. Andrew Kramer

7. Researchers have found that even moderate porn use was correlated with having a lowered response to sexual cues in the brain. While it didn’t conclusively show that porn had caused the changes, that was the theory the researchers found most likely. They even subtitled their study “The Brain on Porn.” [7]

8. When a person is continuously strengthening the brain maps linking sexual excitement to porn, those maps enlarge and can crowd out maps linking sexual excitement to a real person or real sex. [8]

9. Researchers in Italy took brain scans of men with ED for which there was no obvious physical cause. They found that their brains showed reduced grey matter in the reward center (which means reduced dopamine signaling) and the sexual centers of the hypothalamus. [9] Porn is associated with having reduced grey matter. [10]

10. Doctors and past porn users have found that leaving porn behind can fix erectile dysfunction problems. [11]

Interested in Learning More?

Check out my my interview with Gabe Deem about how porn use lead him to porn-induced ED.

Original article by Matt Fradd